Jul 6, 1999
Greetings all ! Any suggestions on how to start a knife collecton? My 2 teenage sons and I would like to start collecting... ideas welcome on how to display/good starter knives for beginner collectors..etc

Thanks in advance......Mike Switzer
A SAK or Case is a good place to start. If they already have that or similar knives try Spyderco Delica/Endura. Any quality name brand locking folder with a 3" to 4" blade should do the trick. My son is 5 and I started him with a LM PST. No matter what you get them they should have at least one Buck 110

You didn't say if you were looking at customs or high-end factory knives or what kind of budget you/they had. Or if you were looking for fixed blade or folder.

[This message has been edited by David Williams (edited 11 July 1999).]

It depends on what kind of knives you like.

Fixed blade, folders, factory production, custom made, manual action, automatics, what you want to spend on each knife and also if they are going to be used or displayed.

I first started with factory knives that I liked and were well made. Now there are very few factory knives that I buy and those that I do will more than likely be used (if I really like a particular knife I will buy two and put one in the case).

Lately have have been having a great time going to shows and finding up and coming custom makers that are putting a lot of effort into their knives and just haven't become household names yet. I beleive this is where your best buys will come from because there are plenty of guys who do fine work and are willing to sell them at a reasonable price.

It really boils down to the fact that you have to collect what you like regardless of what others say, because if you buy something just because someone say's to and you didn't really like it in the first place, you will always regret buying that particular knife. The members of this forum might be able to steer you in a direction, but the final choice should be your own.

Hope this helps.

P.S.- I must be getting old, because I'm actually starting to make sense to myself.

C.O.'s-"It takes balls to work behind the walls "

Jailhack is right on. Buy what YOU like.

Consider the looks, functionality, quality, uniqueness and price of a knife and see if sum total "floats your boat". If it does, you have a winner, if it doesn't, you will end up posting it in the For Sale Forum.

Always remember that any collection is an investment in your satisfaction, not one for financial gain (buy Microsoft stock or Silicon Valley real estate instead). If you do end up selling a knife and making money, it's a bonus.

You may receive greater enjoyment from a $5 knife than a $500 or vice versa, all which is dependent on your personal tastes.

Welcome to a very addictive, but very rewarding habit.

Stay sharp!


Jim O'Young
Home of the Speed Tech "SYNERGY" (tm)
1999-2000 BLADE Magazine "Most Innovative American Design"


Knife collecting is a vast area. Where you go with it depends on the issues you want to address with your kids. Consider the following:

1) Collect current production knives - focus on safety, materials, variety of models/design.

Objectives: focused on practical application, kids learn what designs work best for them in a given situation.

2) Collect traditional/regional designs such as the Kukri, Bolo, Bowie, Tanto, machete, etc.

Objective: good introduction to the diversity of cultures around the world.

3) Collect military knives/bayonets

Objective: good introduction to global history, military/technical developments and product evolution.

4) Collect Custom Knives

Objective: forcus on quality, innovation, and on knives as a creative art form.

There many different ways to go and they all sound like alot of fun. As with anything else, would suggest you endorse safety and responsible behavior first.

Have fun.
How to start? The best way is to look at as many knives as you can. Look at catalogs, web sites (dealers and auctions), knife shows & knife stores. If you like older knives, go to flea markets, antique stores, garage and yard sales and estate sales. Talk to as many knife people as you can. Ask a lot of questions.

I would recommend going slowly and carefully on knife auctions.

Consider joining a knife club. If you like a brand knife that has a club (like Case, Randall, Buck) join it. Consider joining a local knife club where all types of knives are collected.

I particularly like knife shows & knife stores because you can handle the merchandise. Sometimes looks can be deceiving, so handling first really confirms that you like what you buy. I personally feel an obligation to buy something when I use up a lot of a store person's time, so I am careful about handling too many store knives when my pocketbook is empty.

Of course, the first rule is buy what you like (as Jailhack and others have already said). If your likes change, you can always sell.

I haven't solved the display issue yet, so when you find what works for you, let us all know.
I pretty much agree with everything that has been said.Cost usually is a big factor in people's purchases.I've been collecting knives on/off for the past 15 years.I've owned many cheap quality knives and I've had things like Randall's and Microtech's.Basically Its like with everything else in life,you get what you pay for.Usually the more money you spend the better quality knife your gonna get.I also recommend going to a knife show and go handle as many knives as possible from $40.00 knives up to a few hundred.This way you can see the difference in quality,and function.Prices of knives depend on the maker,design of the knife,materials etc.Personally myself I find that I like to collect knives that I can carry everyday.I tend to lose interest In knives like a Randall bowie or a Benchmade,micro-tech etc. automatic because either its illegal for me to carry or not practical.I can't very well walk down the street with my Randall model 14 strapped to my hip,so it winds up staying in the drawer.Basically ask yourself if I buy a big custom bowie knife,am I going to be satisfied just admiring it or taking out hunting one season a year or do I want something like a sebenza I can slip in my pocket and get some enjoyment from carrying,using it.I've had all types of knives and I lose interest after awhile in owning a knife thats a drawer queen and it alway's winds up on the F/S board.Make sure you think about all these things before ya invest alot in a paticular knife.Good Luck,RS
I agree with what not2sharp has implied above... Find a *theme* that appeals to you and your sons, perhaps 3 themes, one for each of you, and orient your collecting around those themes.

I collect along three lines...

1. throwing knives, because I am a knife thrower.

2. folders that appeal to me for different "missions", i.e., office carry vs. back woods carry.

3. heavy-duty survival knives like those made by Busse and Livesay.

Of these, only the third group are truely collected for show, but only because I have the least occasion to use them. Nor do I have many though I see many that I would like...
The suggestion to have one or a few themes or focuses in your collection is espeically important for smaller (less than a few hundered pieces) collections. Without focus, your "collection" is just another drawer full of assorted knives.

So, after looking at catalogs, web sites, books, and maybe attending a few shows, pick a theme or two and focus on those knives. You can pick one maker or one manufacture, a certain period, a certain style, whatever. I have a friend who's collection, at first glance, seems random. But, on careful study, you'll find a theme. He collects knives made in San Fancisco. This includes just about every kind of knife you can imagine, but they're all made in 'Frisco.

Having a focus not only makes your collection more interesting and more valuable, but it makes your decisions easier too. I can go to a show, see a wonderful knife, examine it, handle it (with permission, of course), ask about it, learn about it, compliment it, and all along know that there's no danger of me having to buy it because it doesn't have two handles that counter-rotate around the tang. This makes deciding which knives I want to buy for my collection much easier.

It also cuts down on the amount of money you have to spend on non-knife stuff. Instead of having to buy every knife book out there, you'll only need the few that are specific to your knives, for example.

In selecting your foci, consider what is of personal or professional interrest to you. If, for example, you work in emergency services, perhaps as a 911 Supervisor, you might be interrested in knives used in emergency services. If, for example, you're interrested in martial arts, then you might find some interrest there, depending on which arts you are interrested in. This will make your collection even more personally interresting to you. It may also put you in a unique position to acquire specific pieces for your collection. And, you can leverage your existing knowlege.


[This message has been edited by Gollnick (edited 11 July 1999).]